NaNoWriMo - Here I come!

Less than 2 days before NaNoWriMo officially starts, and as the day gets closer I find that a lot of the writing blogs I follow are posting their words of advice and great tips for the new comers to NaNo. I am doing my best to take all of their advice and use it the best way that I can. These tips come from veterans of NaNo and even people who have published a book or two.

SamProof over at The Path to Publication wrote a post on NaNo that really made me think. He called it Nanowrimo How to Schedule Your Time. The first thing I remember about NaNo in the beginning was someone saying that if you just write 1,667 words a day you'll get to your 50,000 by November 30th. While, in theory, this is correct (divide 50,000 by 30=1,667) it is not the best way to approach NaNo. SamProof points out the obvious in his post. What about taking a day off? What about Thanksgiving? I'm pretty sure my family would be fairly unhappy with me when I excuse myself for a few hours because I have to get my 1,667 words out that day. Besides, the fingers and the brain have to take a break at some point. Sam suggests taking at least one full day off from writing a week and definitely taking Thanksgiving off. In short my new goal will be 2,084 words per day, and I am comfortable with that. By no means am I going to stop writing for the day once I hit my magic number.
Got 2,084 words and it's only 11:00am. I'm done! That would be plain silly. I will be using it as a marker and should I be faced with writer's block at least I'll know how many more words I need to put down to make my quota. Then I can focus on something else for a bit and return to my writing.

I promise that during the month of November I will not start any posts off like
I wrote a few thousand words today and I feel great. Or I have horrible writer's block and I don't know what to do. How boring would those posts turn out to be?! I will, however, update you from time to time with my progress, but you will be able to see it any time you visit. I'm sure you have noticed my word count widget over there on the right side of my blog. That's the best place to look when you are interested in knowing how I am doing.

I hope I am able to achieve my goal and that this experience will be both fun and become a tradition with me. I have my family and friends supporting me and all of my new NaNo writers to help me in a bind.

I wish all of you good luck and I'll see you at the finish line! And remember, those 50,000 words could be the next best seller.


Have you seen this little gadget yet? It's Amazon's latest and greatest thing and it was just featured on The Oprah Winfrey show last week. Kindle is a wireless reading device that allows the user to store thousands of books on it. The wireless connectivity allows you to shop directly from your Kindle. So now you can download a book within minutes. Kindle can also download magazines, newspapers and even songs. It is certainly the next generation of the book world.

My knee-jerk reaction of Kindle was dislike. I didn't like it when I first saw it or heard the concept of the whole thing. Sure we have become technology driven, trust me when I say that I love technology and all the gadgets that come with it, but I have to say that being a writer and an avid book reader I am disheartened by the whole electronic book idea. When I think of Kindle I imagine a world that has no libraries and no bookstores. A world where a person can't step into a bookstore with the smell of new books dancing around them and peruse shelf after shelf of imagination. That first step into a bookstore is intoxicating and full of adventure. Gone will be the days of having bookshelves in your home to show off your collection. Gone will be the day when an aspiring writer gets their first novel published and hands their family one of the first prints. The moment when the writer can hand someone a book they have toiled over must be exhilarating. Instead they'll be sending emails telling them to download it to their Kindle. No more will people be able to say "That book was a real page turner." What pages are there to turn on a Kindle?

Over the weekend I was ranting to a few of my friends about Kindle and one of them stopped my rant dead in its tracks. The moment I mentioned that Kindle held audio books she interrupted me and reminded me there are people in the world who are sight impaired and cannot read. They live on audio books. She also reminded me of people who prefer to listen to books. To have something that is portable for those people is so liberating for them. Now they can be anywhere and hear a story. Further into the conversation she even said that with Kindle, when I publish my novel, I will be able to reach a whole new audience that I otherwise could not have.

Walking away from our conversation I realized that while I prefer the smell and the feel of a book in my lap as I sit in my reading chair, not every human being out there does. And just because people will buy this gadget and download their favorite books does not mean that bookstores and libraries will cease to exist.

How do you feel about Kindle? Will you be buying one?

Duma Key

After I read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft I went back to my library and checked out The Time Traveler's Wife. I wanted a fantasy/science fiction book. It got good reviews on Barnes and Noble so I took the 500 plus page monster home with me. I won't go into too much detail as to why I returned it the very next day and got Duma Key, but I will say that reading a book that is written in the present tense is hard to get used to. Coupled with strange sentence structure and filler words I didn't get past chapter two. While I thought the book had a great theme, a person who floats in and out of time, was great, I just couldn't bear to read it.

On with Duma Key.

I took Duma Key home in part because it was Stephen King's latest novel and in part because it was sitting on the "New Arrivals" table. At just over 600 pages it was another monster I took home with me. I began to read that night and managed to get 140 pages in. I would have read more but my eyes were begging me to stop. I have always enjoyed Stephen King, although I have never read any of his horror books like Cujo or Carrie. I prefer his supernatural books such as The Stand or Dreamcatcher.

The inside jacket of the book gives a brief summary of the plot. Mine will be briefer still. Edgar Freemantle has a terrible accident that leaves him with no right arm and scrambes his memory. He moves to Duma Key on doctors orders and begins to paint; something he has never done before. Once the neighboring town discover his masterpieces and put them on display, things on Duma Key begin to unravel at an alarming pace.

King managed to take me on a wild ride filled with the twists and turns I have come to love and expect of his writing. Duma Key is mysterious. He delivers a novel to get lost in. From the very beginning, leading you into his world, all the way to the end. And never once, eluding to the circumstances in the end.

Worth the 600 plus pages you have to turn to discover the secrets of Duma Key.

Left-handed People

I have always been fascinated with left-handed people. Maybe it's because my mother once told me that when I was a kid she noticed I was becoming left-handed and made me do things with my right. When I asked her why she said "Because it was evil to be left-handed in my day." Whether that story holds water, I have no clue, but I do have this odd curiosity for southpaws. I find that when I am watching TV I point people out who are left-handed to my friends, who could not care less if Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander are both left-handed. What a coincidence that two left-handed actors just happen to be on the same show. They say that only 10% of the world is left-handed.

My very good friend is a lefty and she has given me some great insight into the world of southpaws. Did you know that pens and pencils are even designed for the right-handed world? They are. Go get a pen or pencil. I'll wait. Take that pen or pencil and put it in your right hand, as if you were going to write, so you can read the name brand. No problem, right? You can easily read it. Now take the pen or pencil and place it in your left hand so you can see the brand name. Not so easy to read the name now is it?! We all know one of the most obvious pet peeves of any left-handed person. The old school desk. Those puppies were, without a doubt, made with the right-handed person in mind. Little things like putting a knife back into the block make all the difference for left-handed people. At my left-handed friends house the blade of the knives face left. Go on. I'll wait while you jump up and check yours.

My friend, unlike some left-handed people, writes like a right-handed person. She doesn't turn her arm into a contorted shape when she writes. You've seen lefties write. Their arm practically covers the entire paper and they are almost writing upside down. My friend says left-handed people do this so they don't get ink on the side of their hand. In fact I've seen someone literally write upside down. This woman came into my office one day with an application and I noticed she forgot to write something down so I scooted the paper across my desk, upside down, and when she got it she turned the application around and started writing the most beautiful handwriting you ever saw. I was astounded! The application was facing me and there she was writing on it. Upside down!

Here is a short list of famous left-handed people:
  • Brad Pitt
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Robert De Niro
  • Judy Garland
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Oprah Winfrey
Six of our United State Presidents were left-handed too. And did you know that Bart Simpson is left-handed?

Why Do I Blog?

Inspired by a post from ProBlogger...

I started blogging because I love to write. Writing was such a huge part of my teenage years. It was my creative outlet. I don't remember who gave me my first computer, but I do remember how it looked in the corner of my room. It sat on a wooden desk that was made to fit in a corner. The desk had one drawer and I'm sure I threw anything and everything into it. I escaped into my own thoughts when I sat down in front of its screen and wrote whatever came to mind. I even remember writing my first, and only, story on it. I'm sure that computer is long gone. It had Windows 3.1 on it for Pete's sake.

Writing began to trickle out of my life after High School and the only time I would ever write was to send an email or to write a business letter. I wanted to get back to writing, but I always made excuses for myself. I would tell myself I didn't have anything to write about, or that I was too critical of my own work to make it through a story. I didn't have the confidence that I could just write. I told myself time and time again that I had no inspiration. It was a shame, really, what I was telling myself because I enjoy writing so much. Every person in this world has something, I believe, that is given to them when they are born. A talent. It may not be a million dollar talent, but a talent nonetheless and writing is my talent.

One day, in early October, something came along and told me to quit listening to that nay-saying voice and get out and do what I love. My Muse, lost as she was, found me after a decade of searching. Or perhaps she was waiting for the perfect moment. I will never know.

Tell me, why do you blog?

And away I go

All right, I'm going to do it. Why not? It makes sense to me. I am an aspiring writer after all and what better motivation is there? I am going to put 50,000 words down on paper, figurative paper because I'll be using my computer, and turn it into a novel all in 30 days. The people over at National Novel Writing Month do this every November and this year happens to be their 10th anniversary.

Theoretically, if I write just over 1,667 words a day I can achieve my goal. I figure that's 2 hours of good, solid writing a day. And maybe more if I am on a roll. I haven't picked out a title. That I think will come later. And I'm not sure what to write about, but I am getting very excited about this challenge. I have joined a group at Blog Catalog . Come over and join us!

For those who are not going to participate in NaNoWriMo you can follow my word count progress right here on my blog.

On Writing

A few weeks back I read an article on Daily Writing Tips about a book Stephen King wrote. On Writing is half memoir and half how-to. The first part of the book chronicles his early life and how he got his start as a writer. The second half of the book is where King goes into details of what he perceives is the best way to write.

After finishing this book I felt renewed and ready to write. I did my best to soak in what King was trying to convey to me. In this book King tells the reader to read, read, and read some more. This, unfortunately, is something I have fallen behind on. I enjoy reading very much, but have let the TV and internet entertain me. I have realized that reading inspires me.

I think the hardest concept for me to grasp and run with is telling myself to stop editing as I write. Even as I sit here and pound at the keys, I find myself wanting to go to the top and re-read what I have written.

In his book King also tells us that he dislikes the passive voice and adverbs. And I must admit that after reading the pages and chapters about the passive voice I fall victim to writing that way. He writes "With the passive voice, the writer usually expresses fear of not being taken seriously..." Adverbs are those words that end in "ly." King says "With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn't expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point across." Looking back at my style of writing I can see points in my work where I did use adverbs to show the reader what I meant. If I had been telling the story, then my reader would know exactly what I meant and there would be no need for clarity.

This was the first book I read on writing and it has given me some great insight into the mind of such an accomplished writer. I would definitely recommend any writer or blogger, for that matter, to pick up this book.

Finding your hidden Superhero

Last night I picked up the September issue of Oprah's magazine that my friend gave to me after she was finished with it and came across an article entitled "Are you on the right course?" The article follows a life-coach who takes three ordinary women and helps them see the Superhero inside.

It was the second woman that I identified most with. The life-coach called her a "Clever Critic." This person has numerous ideas, but always finds a good reason that they cannot happen. I am constantly writing in my head, but never actually put those thoughts, ideas, or stories to paper because I think to myself that there are TONS, literally tons, of authors out there, and even more bloggers, so I ask myself "Why would anyone want to read my stuff? I'm a nobody and besides my writing isn't that great." And then all my creativity, my desire to write, and to express myself ceases in that moment. I switch my mind to something easier and less reveling of myself and ultimately never write.

The solution to my problem is a simple one, in theory. Write. Never stop writing no matter how silly I think it sounds or how many other people out there have blogged about it, or written a story similar to it. I have realized that by asking myself "Why would anyone want to read my stuff?" and telling myself I am not worthy of sharing my writing with others that I have crippled my ego and lessened my self worth in my own eyes. I have become the worst critic; I stifle creativity before it has a chance to live. So, I must take off my critic glasses and write just to write. They always say write your first draft with your heart. I spend far too much time critiquing my first draft that it never makes it to the final draft.

I don't know that being an author or writer or even a blogger is my hidden Superhero, but it sure is a good start.


Now that I have tweaked, changed, and manipulated my blog I think it's time to let the world know I am out here writing a blog. I never knew how intent I would be on changing the look and overall style of my blog. I went from a very simple template and turned it into something I like and proud to say "I made that." I never imagined that I would be lurking around the HTML code of this web page or adding things to it such as subscribe buttons and the like. I had to do quite a bit of searching to figure out how to add a second column to my blog, but I got it done. I wanted the freedom of adding more widgets (A component of a graphical user interface with which a user interacts - Wikipedia. Or in lame-man's terms: A cool little interactive thing you put on your blog.). I luckily found information on how to do this and am very happy with how it came out. Even though I am satisfied with my blog as it stands now, trust me when I say that I will be adding new features and tweaking it even more down the road.

Now that I have spent the entire day combing the internet for ways to make my blog my own, and now that my eyes feel like they will never blink again I think I shall go and play some online poker. I can see already that this blog is going to be addictive. People like me who absolutely love to customize things (i.e. my Blackberry) can spend hours and hours on the internet looking for the newest item to add.

My Very First Post

Okay, so I have been deathly terrified of posting anything on my blog. Hell I've had this blog for months now and haven't done a damn thing with it. I downloaded Viigo for the third time to my Blackberry. I uninstalled it twice because it is a memory hog and it slowed down my Blackberry. The makers of Viigo said after the latest update they have corrected some of the memory hog issues. We shall see. So this prompted me to search for RSS feeds and/or blogs to add to my Viigo so I would have something to read on my Blackberry. I ended up coming across three really awesome blogs that, I guess you could say, have inspired me to post something on my own blog.

So a big thank you to Daily Blog Tips, Daily Writing Tips, and Daily Bits for making me get over my fears and actually post something!!!


I started this blog in October 2008 as a way to encourage myself to get back into writing and to do something constructive. I had actually had this blog for well over 6 months before I published my first post. I was literally terrified of pushing that button, but in hind sight I am so glad that I did.

Other than blogging I enjoy reading because after all one can never become a writer if they do not read. I enjoy playing online poker, but as of late I have been focusing my efforts on my budding blog. My favorite movies include Twister, Back to the Future, Roxanne, Finding Forrester, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and anything Pixar makes. I have a Blackberry that I cannot live without. If you do not have one I highly recommend getting one. Some of my favorite TV shows are American Idol, Lost, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Seinfeld, and Three's Company.

The Would You Rather...? link at the top of my blog was an idea I wanted to incorporate into my blog. It was
created by Zobmondo!! I tossed around a lot of different ways to do that and finally decided on making it a separate page. The idea is simple. Every couple of days I post a new scenario, a choice, for you to contemplate. Some will be funny and others could be serious, but I encourage you to post your answers. Post anonymously if you feel the need. It's all in good fun. Remember to check back often to see the new question.

I encourage you to comment on my posts and send me feedback using my Contact Me link.

Thanks for stopping by!